Category Archives: travel

The Netherlands, 14-18 February 2019

[January 14 through 18, Amsterdam, The Netherlands]

I was booking travel to Tucson, AZ to visit my dad and everyone there. My friend Lauren at work was talking about Amsterdam so I was just checking prices on the airfare. Guess what, the flight to Amsterdam was cheaper than flying to Tucson! Airline pricing is the worst; right next to used car salesmen – maybe worse. So, I decided to go to Amsterdam πŸ™‚

I cut the flights close. Like two hour layovers across all stops. Nothing like living dangerously! Woke up at 5:00am, went to work. Went from work to airport. Well great, plane from DCA to ORD was late. Ug. It’s always late! Well, the pilot made up a LOT of time in the air, so I got to ORD in time. In time, that is, to find out the ORD to LHR flight was delayed! What!? That’s critical – at LHR, the plane NEVER lands on time because of congestion, on top of that, I have to go from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 via (stupid, slow, not enough) bus(ses) and go through security all over again – I won’t make it!

You’re saying, wait, why are you flying backwards toward ORD when you are going to Europe? Well, the northeast coast airports are too close to Europe so you basically get enough sleep on the plane, so I fly backwards to get more sleep on the Atlantic flight. This is especially needed because I am going to get about zero sleep over the entire weekend. You thought my flights were tight, I booked four tours (I always do tours the first time I am at a new place) in three days. Crazy. But I digress…

The ORD to LHR pilot made it early and shockingly we landed after only one loop over London. Phew! I know, you are saying why didn’t you go direct from the US to AMS airport? Well, I thought it would be cool to take the train to the coast from London, take a ferry to The Netherlands and get to my hotel. Well, the ferry doesn’t go to Amsterdam, it goes to The Hague – which would lose way too much time to make it to my dinner cruise in Amsterdam, so I bought the LHR to AMS ticket to make up the time. Continuing, I land in LHR, breeze through customs (I am a UK Registered Traveler), hop on the bus (line was still not full, yay) and made it to Terminal 5, hopped on the plane and got to AMS.

Hopped on the AMS airport to Amsterdam Centraal rail which is right within the airport complex (I bought the ticket online, I suggest you do the same) and got to Amsterdam Centraal. Okay done right? Nope, I got turned around in the station and went in the wrong direction. I backtracked and found an information booth (and they speak English, phew!!!) and got to my hotel. Checked in and I am kinda-sorta exhausted. RULE NUMBER 1 – don’t sit down and don’t ever lie down or you will zone out cold within 5 seconds! So now I am thinking, I have to get to my cruise. I have to shower (recall I woke up yesterday at 5:00am US Eastern and it’s not 6:00pm Amsterdam time). I said, good grief, I have to take a shower, so I do; get a fresh set of clothes on and off to the cruise!

From here, you can follow the pictures to get the story. I took over 1000 pictures and narrowed it down to 355. That’s still a lot. Hopefully you will like them. Click on th picture below or the link and the photo page will pop up πŸ™‚


Whirlwind Trip to Amsterdam

Adventure with Ann, Ed, and Kathy in Alexandria, VA

[September 14 through 16, 2018 Alexandria, VA, US]

So, I invited Ann from Chicago to go with my regular irregulars, Ed and Kathy, for another Ed and Kathy plus Ann Adventure.

It was a dark and gloomy day. Rain and all, but Ann and I went onto the Potomac in a boat from Alexandria, Va to Georgetown and back. And made it to the Chart House and met up with Ed and Kathy for a great dinner. SO the pictures are mostly from the boat ride. Ann and Kathy went to trekking the Capitol and area the following day – but I wasn’t there, so no pictures. (I’ll ask Kathy and ask her if I can post some here…) SO here are all the other pics, plus one shot of my food and one shot of Ann, Ed and Kathy -the others were fuzzy, so one each of those. I’ll shoot off more pics at these events since it seems out-of-focus is more than in-focus… So here are the pics (click on pic or the link below):


Adventure with Ann, Ed, and Kathy

To London in Premium Economy on British Airways Boeing 777

[23-May-2018 to 29-May-2018, London, England, US]

Part One – British Airways Boeing 777

Okay, On one of my many trips to London, I decided to do two things. Fly on a British Airways 777 and get the “Premium Economy” seats. Well, it was an older Boeing 777 cabin but, oh well, I tried. The seats are wider than economy and a little bit more legroom. Got a glass of sparkling wine, which was a good start.

But… but. When the food arrived, they served it in wrappers! Are they telling me even though I paid for “PREMIUM” Economy (in British Airways parlance, that would be “World Traveler” class) they want to subtly remind you you are in premium “ECONOMY? Fine, I will sulk in my seat drinking my mini bottle of wine… πŸ™‚

Part Two – MCM ExCel London Comic Con May 2018

So the whole point of this trip was to go volunteer at the “MCM ExCel London Comic Con”. Yes, I flew all the way from the United States to just volunteer at the MCM Comic Con. Yep. I know, words fail you. It’s okay, I had a blast. Of course I went to my favorite pub, the Sherlock Holmes by Charing Cross, then headed over to ExCel London.

I woke up and looked out the window and the lines were forming already. I better go get breakfast and start my trek over there… Sorry, I only took uninteresting photos of the convention hall inside. Two, to be exact. (I was volunteering there all day as it were, if you recall…) Sorry again. I was posting this more on the fine British Airways Boeing 777 World Traveler Premium Economy flight experience. =cough=

So, unlike my usual self, there aren’t many pics at all, sorry about that – click on the link below:

To London in Premium Economy on British Airways Boeing 777

New Year’s Eve at Heathrow plus Other Mini Adventures

[December 28, 2017 through January 2, 2018 Greater London metro area, UK]

So, hopped on a British Airways 747, London had no clouds (shock!) so took an overhead shot; then once on the ground, went to the former location of the Embassy of the Republic of Texas. After that’s met up with Paula and World and went to the Starfury New Year’s Eve party at the Renaissance Hotel by Heathrow airport.

The party was a bust because it basically just one big room and a DJ playing songs and, well, it was really not that great. The hotel itself was okay, we mostly spent our time in the concierge lounge and at the hotel restaurant. They had Caffrey’s! Cool beans. But, it gets sinister after that…

The Marriott Renaissance Hotel Heathrow sucked big time on New Year’s Eve. After trying to get a bottle of Champagne near midnight on the 31st, they said their registers were down and could not server any drinks. This is beyond lack of customer service, it is an calculated active screw over all the customers move. The Renaissance Hotel Heathrow actually snubbed all of the guest at the hotel and held a mini-party at the closed bar for the staff! The entire staff at the bar and front desk of the Renaissance Hotel Heathrow needs to be made redundant and re-staffed. Horrific that they would pull that kind of stunt. They could have easily have had their mini-party in the corner without bothering massively inconveniencing guests at the hotel! And it wasn’t “any other day”, it was New Year’s Eve of all days! Absolutely not-brilliant! I, along with others at the hotel for New Years’ Eve were extremely not pleased. I certainly will not go back to the Renaissance Hotel Heathrow ever. I 100% dis-recommend Renaissance Hotel Heathrow.

Well, other than the bad New Year’s Eve moment, Paula, World, and I did have an entertaining weekend. Even the disaster was entertaining – after the fact next day, of course πŸ™‚


Embassy of the Republic of Texas, London, UK